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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 1:41 pm 
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gauss wrote:
Ninjas: I thought of something like that, GIRP-like in that some functions of a gun might be mapped further away on the keyboard, but both ideas suffer from having to, in some way, lock down the keyboard mapping from the player in order for it to work properly, which I think is against the code of ethics for PC games.


One option for this would be to have "reload 1", "reload 2", "reload 3", "aim 1", "aim 2", etc mappable to whichever keys you choose. If you go with higher resolution gameplay, it would be funny to map spare ammo (and other items) to number hotkeys, you so actually have to grab the clip you want before you load it in. I also kind of like the idea of including multi-button reloads, depending on the weapon. Of course, all of this gameplay would seem weirdly complicated to most people :)


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 2:05 pm 
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Yes my thinking has run to those kinds of lines and I welcome the feedback on how to increase resolution without making it terrible. I think that you could still have the neat trick of the player, themselves getting better at the game, and that's what makes the character in the game better at the things they do; I think that's possible if you magnify the reload process or other sorts of things.

Initial thought, first time trying to write it down explain it (and here comes the scary part): three weapon handling keys along with the ones on the mouse (which account for sighting and firing), and corresponding to a WASD layout: Q, E, R.

R is not a key I am going to mess with, it is still "reload," but more definely distinguished; instead of automatically playing through the whole reloading cycle automatically, it is now essentially mapped to the act of of fitting a new magazine into the weapon (or a new clip for bolt actions/Garands and the like, hypothetically). "E" becomes Eject, which is to say, the first half of the cycle that "R" usually accomplishes alone. The third key is "Q" which becomes analogous to the charging handle. What I like this mapping is that despite two extra keys I think it would actually provide some of the connection/presentation I am looking for, while also making players more aware of their weapons.

Example: People may know the difference between a regular magazine change and a "tactical reload"--in better put together games, you get treated to a different animation, but that's it. The difference is that in a so-called tactical reload, you are reloading before you hit empty, which means you don't have to recharge the weapon. Which again, makes no difference with a single key reload.

But let's look at those two with this proposed system:
normal mag change: E, R, Q. (corresponding to: E eject magazine, R reload fresh mag, Q charge the weapon (manually cycle the first round in, or trip the bolt-hold-open close to chamber the first round, depending on the rifle in question)
tactical reload: E, R. (there's already "one in the spout", which means charging (Q) is superfluous. They can still do it freely, but they feel like a goof because they're dropping a perfectly good round onto the ground. Which to me hints at mastery, something else I think is a positive.)

bolt action rifle: quickly cycling E and Q works the bolt, R would insert a fresh clip.

pump action shotgun: same thing. Quickly cycling E and Q works the pump, each press of R would insert another shell.

Pistols would work the same as rifles in the first example.

This also opens the opportunity for so called "retention" related drills. Retention in firearms handling refers to whether or not you keep a hold of the magazine you've just taken out of the rifle. Traditionally of course you'd want to keep a hold of it, but the theory is that if things are reaaaaaallly that hairy, you can change over to a non-retention drill, which is faster, but drops the magazine on the ground, instead of back into your pocket. This system would accomplish non-retention style reloading by say, holding down R or tapping it twice, something like that.

This might be crazy and it might just be too finely detailed for some players, akin to playing a racing game with shifting when they want none of it--which at least suggests a possible "weiner baby" mode where you get simple reloads on easier difficulties, or as a custom toggle. Like the automatic/manual comparison, I think the tradeoff would be that experienced "manual" players could always reload faster than the set-rate at which "automatic" reload players can.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 2:11 pm 
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Ninjas wrote:
One option for this would be to have "reload 1", "reload 2", "reload 3", "aim 1", "aim 2", etc mappable to whichever keys you choose. If you go with higher resolution gameplay, it would be funny to map spare ammo (and other items) to number hotkeys, you so actually have to grab the clip you want before you load it in. I also kind of like the idea of including multi-button reloads, depending on the weapon. Of course, all of this gameplay would seem weirdly complicated to most people :)

ohhhhhhh that is interesting.... you basically shift the emphasis from bullet count to magazine count-- you have a belt/bandoleer with magazines that are one or two to a reload key. This is a bit of a different take on your idea Ninjas, but you could set it up such that 'reload 1' is your primary magazine holster, with up to 3 or 4 reloads. 'Reload 2' and 'reload 3' would be holdout mags that are less accessible and take longer to reload, such as from the hip or other lower leg pockets; theoretically you could go the whole game only using 'reload 1', so it wouldn't be too onerous for the player.

To take it a step further, think of equipping mags being more like the barbie-doll equipping that X-com uses, only just for mags and equipment (some special doohicky might occupy a magazine slot):
Image
You manually place magazines in the 3 different slots, so you're divvying it up by reload button as well as ammo type. Say your main gun is an M4, so let's put 3 mags of 5.56 on the bandoleer (reload 1). You have a sidearm as well, so 2 mags of 9mm on a hip-strap, and knowing that you might come upon an heavier rifle or something you have a backpack mag of 7.62. The idea then is that you become much more aware of what ammo you have as well as where it is. That way you might have different reloads for different weapons, but it's because of where you put the ammo. Maybe on you R1 main bandoleer you have different 4 mags, so you could use R1 once for most weapons you come across.

Lastly, when the player is field-stripping mags and ammo, what you could do is have picking up ammo be a discrete action, and then to holster it you press which reload button you want the mag to be stored to.

This whole system is probably a little too labor intensive, but I like the idea of having some kind of body awareness when it comes to ammo, instead of magazines magically being procured from beyond the player's view.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 2:21 pm 
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Quote:
This might be crazy and it might just be too finely detailed for some players, akin to playing a racing game with shifting when they want none of it--which at least suggests a possible "weiner baby" mode where you get simple reloads on easier difficulties, or as a custom toggle. Like the automatic/manual comparison, I think the tradeoff would be that experienced "manual" players could always reload faster than the set-rate at which "automatic" reload players can.

ditto for my proposed system, and i agree that having the toggle would be a good measure. Forcing depth of play can backfire, especially for players who need to feel a sense of mastery/accomplishment early on. Mount & Blade is a good example, with AI and manual/automatic blocking being toggleable at any time. Now when I play M&B it's balls to the wall full difficult, manual everything, but when I first started playing (2005 homeboys, I gotst strreeeeeet creeeeeed) I wasn't ready for that stuff at all, and may have been turned off the game if I had to learn all of it at once. Same goes for my childhood experience of x-com. Without save-scumming and being able to keep all my cornily named soldiers alive I would've been physically unable to play that game.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 2:52 pm 
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This is interesting stuff.

Since "this is not a shooter," what is it? It is sounding like a "shooting match"-er. Where the poise and speed of your draw is what matters. Bushido Blade rather than Ninja Gaiden. If you are infrequently shooting, maybe having complicated shooting mechanics is acceptable. Doing some of this in a shooter would be terrible.

Here are some compromise positions between weiner-baby and hardcore:

Gauss: The QER gun loading system is straightforward and can be learned and mastered. I can picture tense situations where you are vulnerable and trying to reload. Real sweaty palm stuff. :) Since some people will get frustrated with that, how about a two stage system - practice and play:

During normal play, you have a one-button reload. You also have the option of the quick-reload over-ride that many games have (Darkest of Days, for example) where the timer spins and if you click within the correct time position window you are rewarded with a quick reload, and if you miss it's a long jam.

During practice mode, you have a three button reload cycle with the QER buttons. During this practice "mini-game," your best reload time with that weapon is recorded (with a dopamine-releasing level-up sound and console comment, "New level!"). Then, that reload time is the new quick-reload timer position. This meets my mini-game requirements, because it is interesting at first and naturally recedes over time. Everytime you hit that quick-reload, it will be extra satisfying because you've doubly earned it. The whole thing can be ignored completely, too, if you choose to play the diplomatic route.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 3:02 pm 
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I say it's not a shooter to distance it from the milieu of which I truly do not wish to draw parallels to. To me a shooter is a game in which far and away the most primary verb is firing a gun, and you will do it from the start of the game to the end of the game, killing hundreds if not thousands of enemies along the way. I feel more and more this is as disordered as it is monotonous, stagnant. Despite being able to clear missions using shooting as your only verb, and with guns as highly prominent, Hitman is not a shooter. It is a puzzle/stealth game with many of the same components as an action game. As someone cleverly described it, it's a puzzle game that turns into a shooter once you trip up, which is fairly accurate.

While I'm not making Hitman, either, I am consciously going for that ballpark. You spend your time in the game thinking, maneuvering, scavenging, scheming, but rather seldom actually shooting. That's the theory anyway.

But not to ignore your contributions on the discussion at hand about gun-related systems, I like what you're talking about. Some kind of practice mode, however that manifests itself, is going to be very helpful. I can't expect to present such a different set of gameplay mechanics and not let the player ease into them--that way lies the issues with the first three or so Hitman games. Great games so many people got turned off from because they didn't know how to play them.

I think about Metal Gear Solid, the VR missions in MGS2 (and the gun simulator in 4): in the VR missions you had a more explicitly puzzle like test to get past just a guard or two, under very strict rules (no shots fired, one shot fired, etc.) and it was very clean and elegantly gamelike, in a good way, and also in a way that really did train up your abilities for the "real" game.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 3:13 pm 
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wake wrote:
ditto for my proposed system, and i agree that having the toggle would be a good measure.

Having a system that can be passively ignored is even nicer than a toggle, too. I can't think of a good general example, but I think that a design goal here might be to have a new player be comfortable playing it in the usual way. Then as they get better, they want to try out the fancy who-zits.

For example, with the clip storage location system that you described, Wake: The clips could automatically populate your inventory slots (fastest slot first), and by default the nearest appropriate clip could automatically be used when called for. But there would just be a longer wait time based on location it was coming from. The newbie player would probably never notice. The hardcore player will dig in there and optimize.

Or maybe by default they go into the backpack, with slowest reload time. And then pros will dig in there and equip their garter belts and socks and whatever. ... Bandoliers.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 7:53 pm 
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You could probably do a better job teaching the player how reloading works by just having a couple areas where you have to shoot at squigs or something non-threatening and you are forced to reload your gun. Maybe make it a tutorial level that you can skip after you do it the first time like Death of a Showman in HITMAN: BLOOD ON THE SAND.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 8:05 pm 
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Endrite wrote:
suggestion of a fiddy Hitman game

:o

but yes, certainly there will be ways to ease the player into these things.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 8:13 pm 
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I like the idea of practicing, Taxi Driver-style, in a mirror. Hopefully mirrors work in that 3d engine.
Or loading your inventory up with tin cans and walking out to the back fence post.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 8:16 pm 
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I know I haven't actually posted on the design of the train itself yet, but I always pictured certain activities being on the deck of the train. Like you just set up some targets on the deck and have at it, as the days go by unseen in the long dark tunnels. How that would function practically speaking is a different issue, I am tempted to go with the less elegant (but easier to implement) practice/simulation mode separate from the "real" game, such that the player won't have to worry about expending his actual ammunition, which might be at a premium.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 19th, 2011, 9:22 pm 
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easing the player into things is lame, do the stalker shadow of chernobyl approach where it would rather just grab you by the shirt (youre a fat kid at the pool) and pull you into the water while everyone laughs at you


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 9:06 pm 
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gauss wrote:
Initial thought, first time trying to write it down explain it (and here comes the scary part): three weapon handling keys along with the ones on the mouse (which account for sighting and firing), and corresponding to a WASD layout: Q, E, R.


Just out of curiosity, why do you think this is a good idea? World War II Online tried making "shoot gun" as complex as possible and that game was a colossal failure that was ridiculed by all but a dedicated few. I'm all for less hand-holding and more skill mechanics, but this just seems like a bizarre overcomplication. Gears of War complicated reloading (albeit in a very simple way) and I really don't think that was a plus for that game.

And as a left-handed player who remaps all of my keys for every single game I play, this is the sort of thing that would make me hate the game before I even make it out of the preplay options menu.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 9:51 pm 
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its something fun to master, adds for unique scenarios, and lets the player do more on a timely basis. i'll use the example of red orchestra, during the earlier phases of the mod, you would shoot your bolt action rifle and then cycle the bolt automatically, which took a little over a second. you could put a bayonet on your gun using a specific button for it, which not everyone chose to do because it made long range shots a -little- less accurate for a very scenario specific advantage that is very very unlikely in some levels. but the point was that while in those levels where people did find bayonets useful, when theyre going to use them, it would get them killed to fire their gun. they would fire their gun at the enemy, miss, cycle their bolt automatically despite the enemy being 3 feet away (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?)

so the devs decided to remove that automatic cycling, to make bayonet combat much less stupid. it made it a lot funner and tense when you get into a close range fight when you choose when to use the action on your gun. i got in a melee battle with a guy and we both shot at eachother, missed, tried to stab eachother with little luck, and would step back once in awhile from trying to stab eachother to cycle the bolt, also giving the other person a chance to try and stab you while you did this. it added another element to the melee system which made the player think more about their next action, which is what gauss is going for i think.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 10:15 pm 
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Well, really what I'm wondering is if he actually wants his game to be commercially successful, because I'm pretty sure that making the player press three buttons to reload his gun is simply a big barrier to entry. Keep in mind that the average video game player is the sort of person who needs forced tutorials at the start of every game reminding him that "LEFT MOUSE BUTTON EQUALS SHOOT GUN." I imagine you can find other ways to make reloading interesting and intense without requiring three specific buttons to be juggled while doing so.

World of Tanks, for instance, makes reloading very nerve wracking. Deprived of your ability to shoot, your tank is now a target. You can ram, try to hide, or maybe try to outmaneuver your opponent's turret traverse. But while you're racking up a new shell, your tank is MEAT. And if you realize halfway through a reload of Armor Piercing that you really need to rack up High Explosive, you have to decide whether to pop the HE in there from scratch or just fire what you're already loading. An absolutely enormous part of the gameplay in WoT revolves around what happens while tanks are without the ability to fire, and it's all connected to other gameplay elements and calculation of risk. And this in an arcadey game with a brutally simple control scheme

Personally I don't think I'd find managing a QTE every time I want to reload my shotgun very engaging but I'm willing to concede that I could be in some sick minority of people on that one.


Last edited by buff butler on April 24th, 2011, 10:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 10:25 pm 
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make it the next commercially successful game, make it cod.~ youre not going to be running around in combat like crazy in this game anyways, i dont see why its a problem at all considering its actually useful even if you do have to remember 3 whole new buttons. it really doesnt seem like hes concerned about making it a giant success as much as just make his own ideal game that he would enjoy playing, rather than putting putting 4 hours into another generic fps clone. which is why hes even bothering with alternative ideas that people like him and myself would very much enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 11:09 pm 
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pariah dog wrote:
i dont see why its a problem at all considering its actually useful even if you do have to remember 3 whole new buttons.


Cornered Rat didn't see why it was a problem to have to remember three whole new buttons to unshoulder and fire a K98k in WW2OL. I'm all for designing games that stimulate higher brain function, but it just seems a really strange thing to complicate.

Consider that Mirror's Edge is a game about parkour running that allows you to pull off some pretty complicated acrobatics, and it only has three buttons that actually deal with parkour moves. The gameplay works pretty well, actually. The Time Trials are quite challenging and there's a high level of mastery that the player can attain with just three lousy buttons related to the main gameplay mechanics.

Now if we're not going to be running around in combat like crazy in this game, why three buttons for reloading? Why not three buttons for jumping, or three buttons for opening doors? Simplicity of control scheme is a good thing. I tend to believe that reloading can be made nerve-wracking and involve player skill without resorting to what sounds suspiciously like a QTE.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 11:34 pm 
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ive never played ww2ol but if its like the red orchestra example i listed where it actually comes in handy in saving your life and adds another layer of thought to the gameplay, i dont see how thats bad. complicating combat seems like something that should be complicated since unlike jumping or opening a door which arent going to be deadly unless youre like, jumping over a ledge or breaching, combat is always going to be deadly. so id rather have that be complex rather than jumping


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 24th, 2011, 11:43 pm 
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A lot of good thoughts Butler and I appreciate the feedback. To reiterate though, it all comes out in the wash, by that I mean the prototype. Not the playtest, Valve-style, but the prototype: we'll find out soon enough what's fun and what works and what is an excessive elaboration of control resolution. Second, I also maintain that the analogy of manual/automatic control options in driving games is fully applicable, and I intend to make the same option. Driving game fiends scoff at the notion that you would do anything but enjoy the full control and splendor of manual, whereas your casual drivers in many games (including the first Mafia, not sure if it's an option for 2) just want to have a spot of fun. It comes down to personal preference?

I own firearms and have been using that experience with an eye toward providing a novel way to represent these concepts in gameplay, because I don't think they're well served at all (and again, not just to simulate). I think it's been very interesting to hand game players a gun who expect to be able to magically manipulate an AR-15 or traditional handgun like they have done thousands of times in shooters, and yet they can't. They don't have the muscle memory. I am looking at building the game such that, in lieu of an RPG-lite mechanic system that builds your character's muscle memory (though that may still be a factor), you build your own, instead. Adding two new buttons solely for gun handling might be a bit much, but I am willing to challenge the traditional mode.

As I believe Jon Blow put it, "the mechanic is the message" (a modification of McLuhlan's formulation of "the medium is the message,") and I don't agree with most action games are saying relating to guns. Yeah, conventionally "R" is to reload, and that's all the necessary resolution for what those games require. But I am not going to make a game which blithely encourages slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds of faceless mook soldiers that run into your gun, so I think that an added level of control resolution is both appropriate and should make for interesting gameplay. When you can expect, if you're a real murderous son of a bitch to kill tens, and not hundreds, for a playthrough, then I think it's appropriate.

Remember that I was highly critical of a game that elaborated on something that might seem similar to the system I am proposing. I would submit that the system I'm thinkin of in my head, relative to the firefights (or lackthereof) in my game justify the system, but again, we'll just have to see. I just hope that with the kind of conversations we've already had here you trust that I will listen and fully welcome the dialogue we now enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 25th, 2011, 1:57 am 
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i have something to say about this that relates to octodad, but i'm taking a small break from crunch time on this massive paper to be here at all, so this is a note to myself for later


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 25th, 2011, 5:22 pm 
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Fair enough, as what you're making is a game in which the player needs to plan his violence (and his escape) diligently or suffer the obvious consequences. That's a good thing and I'm not suggesting you should dumb that down.

Personally, I've fired a wide range of stuff (from bolt-action to an MG-42), and the only time I've ever found it remotely difficult to work a gun was when firing a Mauser. That's because I'm a lefty and the bolt is designed to be worked by a right-handed shooter. But obviously, a lot of that stuff would be a lot harder while running and ducking and being shot at, and I do think it's nice for reloading to have some penalty beyond "Hey, you can't shoot for two seconds."

If you're really serious about making the shooting aspect of the game as intense as your driving sim example, then maybe you should look at WW2OL. If the player has to holster/unholster his gun, steady it with his free hand, etc., then I think it would make more sense to have to frantically wiggle keys to reload your gun quickly under fire. And having elements of mastery in the actual shooting of the gun seems like it would be a lot more satisfying and intuitive.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: April 25th, 2011, 7:51 pm 
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Having a higher barrier of entry for gun-use might influence players to travel the other paths of the game, like negotiation, sneakery, precariously balanced boulders, or whatever. (Or the Exit Screen, obviously.)

During sustained combat, this stuff would get pretty annoying. But during one-off encounters with an armed stranger on the dusty plains, I can picture a lot of tension and immersion in choosing the right moment to draw, and a lot of satisfaction in carrying it off.

Here's a thing: For each action you require of the player, I think that you are obliged to animate and program that action for the NPCs. So, although it is frustrating to accidentally jam your gun because you fucked up pressing all 'dem buttons, but maybe it is paid back by the satisfaction of smoothly operating and shooting the bad guy who is still chambering his round.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: May 11th, 2011, 5:34 am 
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gauss wrote:
As I believe Jon Blow put it, "the mechanic is the message" (a modification of McLuhlan's formulation of "the medium is the message,") and I don't agree with most action games are saying relating to guns. Yeah, conventionally "R" is to reload, and that's all the necessary resolution for what those games require. But I am not going to make a game which blithely encourages slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds of faceless mook soldiers that run into your gun, so I think that an added level of control resolution is both appropriate and should make for interesting gameplay. When you can expect, if you're a real murderous son of a bitch to kill tens, and not hundreds, for a playthrough, then I think it's appropriate.

Remember that I was highly critical of a game that elaborated on something that might seem similar to the system I am proposing. I would submit that the system I'm thinkin of in my head, relative to the firefights (or lackthereof) in my game justify the system, but again, we'll just have to see. I just hope that with the kind of conversations we've already had here you trust that I will listen and fully welcome the dialogue we now enjoy.


I've been thinking about this for a while. When I first read this part of your post I really disagreed with it. I really don't like the idea that you want to control people's behavior ingame simply by making "shoot gun" into a complicated process. I bow to your experience with guns but from what I understand it's not complicated at all. All of my friends were shooting guns, taking them apart, cleaning them, etc. when they were 11 or 12 at the latest. Still I took my time to post because the prevailing belief here seem to be that "story" is ineffective in games, and my solution is not exactly mechanical.

I think that as a player, if I was playing your game I might not indiscriminately shoot people. So that's kind of good. I wouldn't feel like a murderer if I shot someone though. The reason I wouldn't indiscriminately shoot people is that it would be a pain in the ass. In real life, shooting someone is pretty much the path of least resistance in the moment. The reason people don't shoot people that often is a) guilt, b) the social contract, and c) fear of being punished.

In most videogames, the world is in a Hobbesian Natural State, and it's a war of man against all. Your main action is to kill. Even in games that purposely subvert that, like Thief, the tool you use is still ostensibly a weapon even if you don't kill anyone with it.

If you really want to make people not kill each other, you need to add a payload of guilt to each murder. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines did this pretty well, just by having a humanity meter. If you killed people outside of set combat areas, you lost a point of humanity, and a kind of sad gong would sound. Lose enough and you become a ravening beast, with different dialogue options and an increased chance that your character will lose control and just start feeding on people in the street. At the same time there were options in dialogue that would make you lose humanity, and those options almost always made you feel like a dick.

You could also have people recognize that murder is wrong ingame. A couple of people overheard having a conversation about a grisly murder and how could anyone do such a thing can work wonders. Sure, it can also be a total joke (Please, Sam, he had a family) but it can also reinforce the idea that murder is not right. Of course, you are never going to get normal people to feel like actual murderers (you might get the kind of people who cried when Aeris died to feel that way though) but you can certainly get across the idea that murder is a suboptimal solution to problems.

Having a social contract is also worthwhile. Make it so that dangerous people, possibly the enemies of the PC, don't just open up on them on sight. Maybe they call the cops if the player is wanted. Maybe the PLAYER can call the cops on criminals they encounter. UO did that, and as a result it had a world where people in towns were generally safe, and murderers lived as outcasts, preying on travellers.

I dunno how deep you want to go with this. It doesn't sound like you are making an RPG where the player has the kind of baggage where they can call the cops on someone or whatever. Still, what I'm really getting at is that making murder inconvenient and difficult is not the way to go. Making even successful murder a suboptimal solution that genuinely bugs the player is.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: May 12th, 2011, 12:21 pm 
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Still getting back online (should have internet at the new place by late today or tomorrow) but I appreciate this post, covers a lot of what I have been thinking about recently.

You're right about comments regarding annoyance/"morality" and gunplay, but the greater degree of fidelity with firearms handling I think has potentially more going for it. On the one hand, I really don't care to make another game from the perspective of a soldier, not in the conventional mode. Soldering is a job, and a weird combination of deadly/boring at that, and maybe it's a job we shouldn't portray so frequently or blithely in games. It's both limiting and tiresome.
But with regards to firearms part of the idea of increasing the control resolution is to match a desired shift in mimicry. The Traveler isn't a soldier, he/she's a rambling rogue kind of character, who might have a great deal of interesting and unusual talents, but isn't a soldier. He/she has none of the built up muscle memory. I know I explained this already but I think games make people believe they can magically handle them with perfect expertise. No, guns aren't complicated. Learn their basic operation and it's very quickly second nature, but I think it's a worthwhile perspective of having the player's fingers learn that, rather than starting another game playing Expert Soldier Man. To me it creates an RPG-like skill progression but instead of prohibitive number fudging, it's truly a player skill component, not the character's.

That's the theory, anyway. This is a lot of arguing for a sub-system that might get thrown out the second the prototype shows it can't hold water.

On to your other point: yes, I do intend on consequences for killing. Something akin to the humanity system in Bloodlines which I recall fondly, though once again I find myself drawn to the abortive attempts of very interesting (but ultimately unfulfilled) systems in MGS4. Snake has a "psyche" meter in that game and various actions and combat stress (which was a separate meter that filled up, come to think of it?) would change, but then all you had to do was pop into your inventory and take the right power-ups to cure your mental ills just as readily as you would eat a ration to magically deal with bullet wounds.

Instead, here's where the two-stage gameplay might again play well. You can go through a full rambo/psychotic playthrough of a level, engaging in firefights and wanton slaughter as you please, but once you're down off the adrenaline and there, on the train, your character has little else but their own thoughts (and maybe a discorporated cyborg head) for company. Depending on what all you did and the extent of it, your character has to spend a significant portion of that time during the travel time "self-medicating". The more you traumatize your own player, the more it changes the relative supply needs for the next trip--maybe you need to collect a proportionally higher amount of hard alcohol or other drugs you can find because the character is more interested in drowning certain images than they are in eating three square.

But again that's conjecture. I've got a whole other new system I want to discuss and prototype I think I mentioned in the changelog, which is a new look at just how to handle this interaction with various NPCs largely in a nonverbal fashion. More later.


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 Post subject: Re: gameplay overview
PostPosted: May 12th, 2011, 1:06 pm 
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Another idea for a compromise position:
With frequent use of the weapon, the non-soldier character would gain the muscle-memory of a soldier. You could allow the player to level-up past the discrete reload mechanic, and unlock the ability to 'press r to reload.' So, when the discrete reload mechanic starts to lose its interesting novelty and become tedious, it can just go away. This is how teh IRL skills are learned: through practice. I think gaining a shortcut skill through honest practice might be a satisfying way to invest in the character.

Anyways, this has been interesting, and I am looking forward to the next post.


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